Local farmers pleased with Farm Bill extension

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- No one's completely satisfied. But farmers around here say it's a relief - and they'll take it.

"I would say...yes. Yeah we're relieved and I think the thing that the producers really want to focus on is we want to to save the crop insurance aspect, " said local farmer Jack Norman.

Norman said crop insurance is the most important aspect of the bill. Now farmers can nail down definite plans.

"It gives us a little bit of assurance of what's gonna happen this next year, because we're making plans for the spring crops," he said.

Congress inserted the farming measure into the Tax Relief Extension Act - also known as the fiscal cliff legislation.

The previous farm bill passed in 2008. It expired this past September. Tuesday's legislation extends the 2008 bill until September 2013.

President of the Grayson County Farm Bureau Ben Wible said the extension lays out crop insurance rates, provides disaster assistance and continues deficiency payments.

"It just gives us a little bit of a heads up on what we can plan on for the coming year of crops and production," he said. "This way we know what the government's thinking anyway."

But now it's time to debate the 2013 farm bill. And it's happening in a year where congress is devoted to cutting spending.

"We think they'll be a lot of review of current programs, they'll be further reductions," Norman said.

But Wible said he's optimistic.

"There's a hopeful outlook for it, it just depends on the fiscal cliff, they'll have to solve that first. See what money is available, what revenue is available, see what taxes they're gonna put on," he said.

Wible said wheat farmers will continue to get wheat subsidy checks in November. However, he said lawmakers will most likely cut the program in this year's bill.

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